module specification

MC4011 - Introduction to Media Culture and Society (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Introduction to Media Culture and Society
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 300
108 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
192 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Group Presentation 40%   Group presentation
Coursework 30%   Individual Essay
Coursework 30%   Critical Reflective portfolio
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

In an age of mass communication we are constantly bombarded by messages through advertising, the press, television, film and the internet. Media is a powerful dynamic force and cuts through gender, class, race, creed, and nationality to form bonds between groups of people who may exist in totally different circles, bringing us closer to a global culture. Social & cultural values are largely shaped and reflected by the consumption of media. This module seeks to provide students with an insight into the media industry and to provide students with an introduction to models and tools to enable them to engage in an informed debate on this constantly changing subject.
The module aims to introduce students to the nature and make-up of the media industry and undertakes a critical examination of the role of culture and society in determining its development. It will examine both traditional and new media/digital platforms as part of a wider analysis of its influence on culture & society.  Additionally the module aims to provide an introduction to the learning strategies students will need to successfully study in higher education.

The module also aims to assist students in the acquisition  and development of the following skills:
1. Academic Reading 
2. Researching
3. Application of Knowledge and Presenting Data
4. Communicating/presenting – orally & collaborating / working with others
5. Critical Thinking and academic Writing
6. Self- assessment/reflection


The module syllabus will cover:

• The media industry – Industry structure, ownership  & integration LO1
• Environmental factors impacting on the media industry ( Advertising, digital, Public relations , sponsorship) LO1
• Channels of mass communication -  Media formats -TV, Radio, digital, print, film LO1
• The communication process Introduction to classic communication models eg. Shannon & weaver 1949  LO2
• Media users & mass audience - Discovering Mass audiences, audience Measurement Principles, measuring Audience Size, audience Measurement Techniques, measuring audience Reaction, audience Analysis. LO2
• Media content – Media texts, levels of meaning, Introduction to genre & discourse analysis LO2
• Media effects – Two step flow, users & gratification, encoding decoding meaning, semiotics signs, signifiers. The role of Perception in communication, theories of persuasion, hypodermic syringe theory, Reception theory , effects theory LO2
• Cultural perspective  - Audiences as producers of culture, ethnographies of audience fans and users , popular culture LO2
• Media Identity & Culture – stereotypical representations, promoting positive images, constructions of feminism and masculinity & beyond gender. LO3
• Media communities  - Homogenise and  anatomization , fans & identity  sub cultures targeting communities –local, niche magazines  and theories of  on line communities LO3
• Saturation of media & loss of meaning – Consumerisms, modernism, post modernism celebrity culture & hyper reality, Identity & fragmentation. LO3

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The module will be delivered over a 30 week period and consists of 1.5 hours lectures and 1.5 hours seminar each week.   The weekly lectures will focus on key theories, concepts models and frameworks for the analysis of contemporary media. 
The seminar sessions will cover discussions, debates, video, cases, questions and answer sessions to build on the contemporary issues covered in the lectures.   The seminars serve to anchor knowledge imparted in the lectures and provides a forum for:
• A better understanding of lectures through small group discussions, case study, video journal article/problem solving analysis and interchange of questions and answers.
• Assist students in relating their knowledge to the communication profession
• Applied understanding of technical skills required for carrying out  communications & media research & academic writing
• Assist in employability skills for future careers in the communications industry. Students will need to consider this aspect of the module as part of their personal development and be able to produce examples in a portfolio
The facilities of Web Learn will be used as part of a blended learning approach and will be central to the delivery of module and weekly material will be loaded & external web links will be used to form the basis of class discussions. In particular students will be encouraged to use the web learn discussion forum on a regular basis.

Students are also expected to begin the adoption of an increasing degree of independent learning in line with the on-going roll-out of the module.

Learning outcomes

At end of the module students should be able to:
1. Understand the role of mass communications in a contemporary marketing communications context.

2. Comprehend the basic principles & theoretical approaches and methods adopted in broad media and cultural studies ie beyond the narrow context of marcomms.

3. Be able to describe the ways in which the mass media industries and digital platforms/tools shape genres, messages and narratives in order to construct a sense of what the social 'world' is or how it works.

Assessment strategy

Description of assessment items.

The initial assessment (Assessment 1) is designed to add a greater sense of student community and encourage bonding within the context of carrying out specific marketing communication tasks. The second and third assessments aim to develop the appropriate learning outcomes within the context of appropriately designed courseworks which are:
Assessment 2 – This essay-based (academic focused) coursework is designed to encourage students to research and explore an issue relating to a contemporary issue relating to media, culture and society.

Assessment 3 – This coursework aims to develop content writing skills that reflect the demands of organisations in a more vocational context.



Core Text: Vivian J.(2018) Media of Mass Communication: Pearson New International Edition, 11/E  Pearson (e book)

Other Texts:
Hodkinson  P. (2011) Media Culture & Society  An Introduction  Sage publications

Severin W. (2014) Communication Theories: Pearson New International Edition: Origins, Methods
Pearson publication (e book)

New media and society
Mass communication & society
Journal for communication and culture
International Journal of Advertising
International Journal of communication
Journal of marketing & communication
Journal of Marketing communications
Journal of public Relations Research
Public relations journal
Public relations review

The Professional Publishers Association (PPA)
BBC Learning
AMARC (World Association of Community Radio Stations),
Community Media Association,
The Advertising Association –
The Advertising Standards Authority –
The Office of Communications-
The History of Advertising Trust –
Institute of Practitioners in Advertising-
Internet advertising Bureau
Think Box
Cinema Council
Screen digest

Social Media Sources: